Posts Tagged ‘Painkiller Epidemic’

Not Another Sequel! “Drugstore Cowboy” Author James Fogle Arrested for Pharmacy Robbery (Again).

May 28, 2010
Drugstore Cowboy Author James Fogle

"Drugstore Cowboy" Author James Fogle

I have written about pharmacy robberies on these pages many times before, but this is a most interesting development…

Apparently Fogle and another man were caught mid-spree trying to liberate what has been described as “garbage cans full of drugs” from a Redmond (Washington) pharmacy.

For those who may not know (really?), James Fogle wrote what would become the critically acclaimed “Drugstore Cowboy” from his California prison cell in the 1970s. The book achieved some critical acclaim, and was later (in 1989) adapted for the silver screen by none other than Gus Van Sant.

I’m trying to decide what will be sadder, James possibly spending the rest of his life in prison, or the media using this story to obfuscate and confuse the recent surge in pharmacy robberies, which is fast-becoming one of the most serious aspects of the Painkiller Epidemic.


More on Pharmacy Robbery at SWALLOW Blog:

For more on this story:


Wal-Mart Pharmacy Defrauded out of 9,000 Painkillers

May 6, 2010

Scranton, PA Woman accused of defrauding Wal-Mart Pharmacy of 9,000 painkillers

See… now this is something. I am not going to get into too many details right now (I will get into them here soon), but there are so many holes in the way Opiate/Opiod Prescription Painkillers (and prescriptions in general) are filled by pharmacies that it’s down-right embarrassing. You will meet more resistance cashing a payroll check at your average bank than you will filling a prescription for a powerful narcotic at most pharmacies.

“Sara L. Bubser, 54, deceived the pharmacy for eight years until someone at Walmart recently called the doctor to verify the orders…” —The Scranton Times-Tribune

Where to begin? Let’s see… Most pharmacies will not check your ID. They rely on “pharmacy technicians” too heavily.  And the DEA numbers that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians count on to demonstrate “authenticity”… are a cruel joke.

There are little-to-no standards for the design of prescription pads. Ditto with procedures for phoning and faxing in prescriptions. I could go on. What went wrong at this Wal-Mart Pharmacy in this case? There are few details so far…



Deceased Cat Bounce

July 11, 2009


Speaking to a few people in the biz over the last week or so, the talk quickly turned to all of the coverage the Painkiller Epidemic was suddenly receiving from the media. The “death bounce” initiated by Michael Jackson’s passing was in mid-arc. In particular, Joshua Lyon, author of the recently published Pill Head: The Secret Life of a Painkiller Addict told me via e-mail that [media] outlets that originally had no interest in speaking with him were now banging down his door.

But as with Heath Ledger, and many before him, almost before it began… it seems to be ending. I’m still not sold on the drug-death-connection with M.J. anyway, but that is not the point. At least it’s not my point.

My point is that the Painkiller Epidemic is not a “Celeb Thing”. It’s not about movie stars and pop gods. It’s about millions of everyday people, pinching from Mom’s medicine cabinet, being turned on by friends, or becoming dependent after surgeries—and then finding themselves suddenly addicted. Addicted and alone.

It’s about how we suck at identifying these people, and it’s about how we suck even worse at helping them.

Note to the “Media”: This story is not over.


* In this context, “the biz” being those few of us writing and speaking on opiate, opioid, and painkiller addiction issues.

Demerol Did It??? Developing…

June 27, 2009

The Sun: Michael Jackson’s deadly cocktail of drugs

American Chronicle: Pop King’s Medic Faces Questions Over Drug Jab Claims

Coming Soon: My Review of “Pill Head: The Secret Life of a Painkiller Addict” by Joshua Lyon

June 16, 2009
Joshua Lyons "PILL HEAD" will be released on July 7th (U.S.).

Joshua Lyon's new book "PILL HEAD" will be released on July 7th (U.S.).

NOTE: My interview with Joshua Lyon has been posted! —Ed.


So, waiting patiently for me when I arrived home this evening was my shiny new review copy of Pill Head: The Secret Life of a Painkiller Addict by Joshua Lyon. I have been anxiously awaiting this one, and can’t wait to read it tonight.

I’ll try to have my review posted this week.


Joshua Lyon is a journalist who has worked for several major publications, including… Interview, Condé Nast Traveler, V Life, and Jane. He has also contributed to New York, Out, Vice, Nylon, and Page Six magazines. Joshua lives in New York City. Pill Head: The Secret Life of a Painkiller Addict is his first book.


Pre-Order Pill Head from these Book Sellers:


Pill Head cover image ©2009 Hyperion

3-D Rendering by brian g.